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Stitch Fix shares rocket 27% higher after quarterly sales shatter expectations (SFIX)

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 1:56pm

  • Shares of online personal style company Stitch Fix soared as much as 27% on Thursday after the company beat Wall Street sales estimates.
  • The firm also raised its revenue outlook for 2019.
  • Watch Stitch Fix trade live.

Stitch Fix, the online personal style company, beat expectations for revenue and earnings in the third quarter. The firm also raised its revenue outlook for 2019.

The report sent shares soaring as much as 27%, although the stock pared gains slightly in the afternoon, trading roughly 15% higher as of 1:45 p.m. ET.

Revenue for the quarter came in at $409 million, 3% above Wall Street consensus analyst expectations, as compiled by Bloomberg. Adjusted earnings suprised analysts at $0.07 per share, beating expectations of a loss of $0.03.

The company slightly raised its revenue outlook for fiscal 2019, increasing its top-end of the range 1% to $1.58 billion. The company crossed the critical $1 billion revenue mark in fiscal year 2018.

Stitch Fix is an fashion-based subscription services that combines personal styling with algorithms to customize clothing deliveries. The company cemented its status as a tech "unicorn" with its 2018 IPO valuing the company at over $1.5 billion. 

The company's customers fill out a detailed questionnaire about their style and pay a $20 styling fee. Stylists then pick out outfits to match a customer's style and are only charged for clothes they keep after delivery. The styling fee is applied to any purchase.

The company was founded by Erin Morrison Flynn, a former J. Crew buyer, and Katrina Lake, who reportedly came up with the idea while attending Harvard Business School. Lake remains CEO of the company, with a stake worth more than $300 million, while Flynn is no longer affiliated with the company.

Before Stitch Fix, Lake worked at the tech company Polyvore and the management-consulting firm The Parthenon Group.

Lake told the Star Tribune that her fashion sense was "classic with a twist," adding, "I want to feel comfortable and confident and don't want to have to think too much about what I wear every day.

Stitch Fix is now up more than 55% year to date.

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The top 18 states rich millennials are moving to

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 1:55pm

Rich millennials are on the move.

SmartAsset recently used IRS data from the 2015 to 2016 tax year to take a look at the states wealthy millennials are moving to. It defined rich millennials as those younger than 35 who have an adjusted gross income of $100,000 or more. SmartAsset ranked each state by net migration, which it determined by subtracting the number of millennials moving out of the state from the number of millennials moving into the state.

As it turns out, rich millennials crave a coastal lifestyle — seven of the top 10 states millennials are moving to are on the East Coast or West Coast. And the Northeast isn't popular among rich millennials: Only four states in the region — New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont — rank among the top states rich millennials are moving to.

Below, see the top 18 states attracting rich millennials. We arrived at this list by including all states in SmartAsset's findings that have a positive net migration — the states more rich millennials are moving into than out of.

SEE ALSO: 25 of the top ZIP codes where rich millennials are snapping up homes across the US

DON'T MISS: Here's exactly what millennials should be doing every five years to become rich, according to a financial planner

18. Kansas — Wichita has been undergoing a downtown renovation over the past decade, attracting urban-dwelling millennials.

Number of millennials moved in: 1,201

Number of millennials moved out: 1,195

Net migration: 6

Source: Smart Growth America, The Wichita Eagle

17. Vermont — Vermont recently offered Americans up to $10,000 to move to the state and work remotely.

Number of millennials moved in: 232

Number of millennials moved out: 200

Net migration: 32

Source: CNN

16. Hawaii — The Aloha State is a science hub, conducting much of the nation's climate and astronomy research.

Number of millennials moved in: 647

Number of millennials moved out: 605

Net migration: 42

Source: SmartAsset

15. Montana — Montana yields many opportunities for entrepreneurs and is close to nature, providing a lifestyle many can't find in big cities.

Number of millennials moved in: 371

Number of millennials moved out: 312

Net migration: 59

Source: ABC Fox Montana

14. Maine — Through its Educational Opportunity Tax Credit program, Maine helps college-graduate residents pay off their student debt.

Number of millennials moved in: 361

Number of millennials moved out: 264

Net migration: 97

Source: Bustle

13. New Hampshire — New Hampshire is in part attractive to young adults because of its low unemployment rates.

Number of millennials moved in: 913

Number of millennials moved out: 747

Net migration: 166

Source: New Hampshire Union Leader

12. Idaho — Idaho Falls is attracting millennials with its restaurant scene and recreational activities.

Number of millennials moved in: 614

Number of millennials moved out: 398

Net migration: 216

Source: Local News 8

11. Georgia — Atlanta has a strong startup scene, and the city has the third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the country, from Coca Cola and Delta to Home Depot and Porsche.

Number of millennials moved in: 3,834

Number of millennials moved out: 3,525

Net migration: 309

Source: Inc

10. New Jersey — Located across the Hudson River from New York City, New Jersey offers a more affordable housing alternative for those who work in the city.

Number of millennials moved in: 6,543

Number of millennials moved out: 6,197

Net migration: 346

Source: App

9. Tennessee — Nashville has become a top city for recent college grads, thanks to its growing tech industry and affordable cost of living.

Number of millennials moved in: 2,423

Number of millennials moved out: 2,033

Net migration: 390

Source: Biz Journals, WKRN

8. South Carolina — Charleston was hailed as a "millennial magnet" by USA Today because of its startup economy and arts and restaurant scene.

Number of millennials moved in: 1,695

Number of millennials moved out: 1,392

Net migration: 573

Source: USA Today

7. North Carolina — Raleigh and Charlotte, with their plentiful job opportunities and high pay, are major attractions for millennials.

Number of millennials moved in: 4,572

Number of millennials moved out: 3,786

Net migration: 786

Source: The News & Observer

6. Oregon — Portland has many neighborhoods, a relatively affordable cost of living, and a booming economy. The city offers plenty of jobs with high salaries away from the competition elsewhere on the West Coast.

Number of millennials moved in: 2,190

Number of millennials moved out: 1,304

Net migration: 886

Source: Business Insider

5. Florida — Miami, Jacksonville, and Tampa are hot cities for millennials; the latter has been dubbed a "city-on-the-rise" for its beach proximity, low unemployment rate, and beer scene.

Number of millennials moved in: 6,014

Number of millennials moved out: 5,114

Net migration: 900

Source: 10 News, Curbed,

4. Colorado — Millennials have been flocking to Denver for its numerous high-paying jobs, reasonable commutes, and activities. It also gets 300 days of sunshine a year.

Number of millennials moved in: 4,369

Number of millennials moved out: 2,863

Net migration: 1,506

Source: Denver Post, SmartAsset

3. Texas — Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston have become magnets for millennials looking to work for small businesses.

Number of millennials moved in: 10,890

Number of millennials moved out: 9,012

Net migration: 1,878

Source: Chron

2. Washington — Home to the headquarters of Amazon and Microsoft, the Seattle metro area is a thriving tech center.

Number of millennials moved in: 5,729

Number of millennials moved out: 3,809

Net migration: 1,920

Source: The New York Times

1. California — Silicon Valley draws millennials looking to work in the tech industry. And with plenty of national parks and beaches, California has plenty to offer outdoors.

Number of millennials moved in: 17,245

Number of millennials moved out: 13,648

Net migration: 3,597

Source: SmartAsset

JPMorgan is shuttering its banking app for millennials after one year. We got ahold of the internal memo announcing its demise.

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 1:40pm

  • JPMorgan Chase is shuttering Finn, its mobile-banking app designed for millennials, a year after its nationwide launch.
  • The bank announced the move Thursday in an internal memo to employees from Bill Wallace, the head of digital, consumer, and community banking.
  • In the memo, seen by Business Insider, Wallace said the Finn team would continue to work on projects for Chase's other digital platforms. He added that some popular Finn features would be integrated with the Chase mobile app and
  • Read the latest JPMorgan news here.

Less than a year after its nationwide launch, Finn — JPMorgan Chase's mobile-banking app designed for millennials — is being shuttered.

JPMorgan sent notices to Finn users Thursday announcing that "Finn is going away" and alerting them that their accounts would be rolled over to a traditional Chase account.

The bank also on Thursday notified employees of Finn's demise in an internal memo from Bill Wallace, the head of digital, consumer, and community banking.

In the memo, seen by Business Insider and confirmed by a company spokesman, Wallace said the Finn team would "continue to work on other innovations for Chase," including features for the website and the Chase mobile app.

He also said successful Finn features, such as rules that help customers automatically save, would be integrated into Chase's other digital offerings.

"Now, many of the features our Finn customers have loved will be available to every other Chase customer," Wallace wrote in the memo.

JPMorgan in 2016 famously cracked the credit-card code with millennials, launching the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which became an instant phenomenon and helped ignite an all-out rewards battle among credit-card companies.

But solving digital banking for the younger generation proved more challenging, and Finn's run was short-lived. After workshopping the concept with millennials for over a year, JPMorgan announced the new app in late 2017, rolling it out in St. Louis before launching nationwide in late June 2018.

Here's the full memo from Wallace:

SEE ALSO: Wall Street's massive tech spend has reached an 'inflection point' as billions in investments are starting to pay off

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: WATCH: The legendary economist who predicted the housing crisis says the US will win the trade war

3 reasons why you might not be getting approved for the best credit cards

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 1:19pm

  • Have you been having trouble getting approved for credit cards? It could be because your credit isn't in the best place — even though some credit reporting services might say you have good credit.
  • If you don't have a credit history, have more credit card debt than long-term debt, or have some negative marks on your credit report like bankruptcy, you could be denied for the best credit card offers.
  • By understanding how negative points are preventing you from getting more approvals, you can make changes that will improve your odds over time — allowing you to earn more rewards for your everyday spending.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

If you have "good" credit but keep getting declined for big points and miles bonuses from credit cards, or have noticed a decline in "pre-approved" offers coming to your mail, it may have everything to do with your credit report.

It is entirely possible to believe your credit is in a good place, but banks and other lenders may see it otherwise.

Getting your credit score through one of many different free services may present an optimistic view of your credit history and current situation. However, while you pay your balances on time and try to use your available balances responsibly, your reports may not be as stellar as you think. The result is often lower FICO scores and mixed reviews of your position across all three credit bureaus — resulting in rejections.

What's holding you back from getting the credit you deserve? More importantly, how can you improve your situation and start receiving rewards for your spending? Before you put in another unsuccessful application, start by checking these three situations.

You don't have a credit history

Before banks will trust you with a line of credit of your own, they want to make sure that you can handle the responsibility. With a track record of good spending and low balances, you may qualify for the biggest bonus offers and best credit card rates. Until that time comes, you may get denied for the best credit card offers.

If you're just building your credit history, or rebuilding after a bankruptcy or charged-off debts, then consider your application strategy carefully.

Earning rewards from the top-tier credit cards is a marathon activity — not a sprint. Before applying for the best cards in the industry, start with cards that offer no annual fee and cash back to build a solid report. Through good usage and regular spending, it's rather easy to work up to the top-tier credit cards.  

You have too much 'bad' debt

When banks look at a credit report, they consider two different types of debt: good debt and bad debt. "Good" debts are long-term loans on big purchases, like homes, autos, and even student loans. If you have one of these in your name and are responsibly paying them down every month, both your credit score and overall report are in a much more favorable space with lenders.

On the other hand, "bad" debt is your current balance on credit cards or store credit. High balances and late payments can make your credit score suffer and disqualify you for the best credit card options. Before putting together another application, start paying down your balances to get your credit in a better place.

It's important to note that "good" and "bad" debts are not mutually exclusive. If you have many different credit cards but your overall utilization is low, then your credit score will go up and put you in a prime position to get the best credit cards. But if you have only two or three credit cards that are always used to the max, your credit score will go lower.

Your credit history isn't stellar

Everyone falls on hard times.

With a bankruptcy or debt write-offs on your credit report, lenders may wary about approving you for their best credit products. The good news is that everything passes with time — including bankruptcy. If you have bad marks on your credit today, it's okay. Most negative reports fall off your credit report in seven years.

What's more important is how you treat your current lines of credit during that time. By keeping low balances and making responsible purchases, you can get approved for better credit card offers, resulting in more rewards you can use in your everyday life.

Join the conversation about this story »

MORGAN STANLEY: An overlooked signal could determine the future of the stock market — and early indications suggest a tough road ahead

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 1:17pm

  • With the removal of a key technical indicator, the ongoing equity bull market runs the risk of losing steam on weak internals.
  • Morgan Stanley explains why narrow leadership and overt divergence between market sectors worsens the overall equity outlook for 2019.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Morgan Stanley thinks investors are missing out on a crucial underlying market signal — one that could very well determine the longevity of the ongoing bull market.

The firm is referring to breadth, which measures how many stocks in an index are rising versus the number that are falling. Strong breadth means a large number of companies are doing the heavy lifting, while a weak reading implies that gains are concentrated in the hands of just a few.

In short, the more individual stocks participating in a move, the stronger the trend at hand, and vice versa.

In an environment where myriad factors are pushing and pulling equities at any given time — the trade war, Federal Reserve monetary policy, and earnings growth chief among them — breadth is a good reality check for the actual health of the market. To that end, Morgan Stanley has a stark warning. 

The firm has been watching breadth for weeks, and it said the metric has flipped away the bullish territory it occupied a few months ago. In fact, Morgan Stanley noticed some key warning signs, such as the underperformance of cyclicals and the outperformance of defensive shares. 

Read more: The Fed's recent behavior shows it's very nervous about the economy's future. Here are 3 reasons why you should be too.

"We sensed that people were too focused on the major averages and were not heeding the warnings from these important market internals, not to mention the very strong message from the bond market and yield curve," Mike Wilson, the firm's chief US equity strategist, wrote in a client note.

He continued: "In the past few weeks, it looks like the major averages are now succumbing to these weaker internal signals."

This is significant because the investment landscape becomes vastly more nebulous when breadth is overlooked.

Think of it this way: Forecasters searching for a leg up on the competition may be led astray when a few large-cap securities move up (or down) in sequence, drowning out the moves of more populous, smaller-cap stocks. Without evaluating the breadth line, market moves become increasingly less clear.

Read more: The bond market hasn't been this out of whack since the tech bubble. Here's why investors are going to 'extreme' lengths to make money.

With that being said, if used efficiently, analyzing the total number of individual stocks participating in a rally or sell-off provides investors with a much more transparent, definable view of the underlying health and sustainability of the trend at hand.

Remember, a handful of stocks can represent large moves in indexes but may not be fully representative of the markets' overall well-being. This is why surface-level analysis is so misleading and needs to be vetted and confirmed by internals.

This is why it's such a red flag that Morgan Stanley thinks investors have missed the latest signal.

What the removal of technical support has also done is push corporate fundamentals back into the forefront. And to Morgan Stanley, that's yet another negative sign. In the end, the big takeaway is that further turmoil may lurk ahead if these metrics continue to deteriorate. 

"The difference between today's break and the one on March 8 is that the internals and the fundamentals are weaker today," Wilson said. "The technicals may hold even more importance than usual now."

SEE ALSO: The Fed's recent behavior shows it's very nervous about the economy's future. Here are 3 reasons why you should be too.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: WATCH: The legendary economist who predicted the housing crisis says the US will win the trade war

I visited NYC's new luxury head shop that sells upscale cannabis products like $125 mini-bongs and a $450 lighter. It was a firsthand look at how dramatically weed culture is changing.

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 1:04pm

As more and more US states legalize recreational marijuana use, brands are responding by selling pricey, luxury and design-oriented cannabis products, marking a profound shift in traditional "stoner culture," Lane Florsheim recently reported for The Wall Street Journal.

"People are using cannabis in ways aside from, let's get high and party," Ariel Zimman, founder of Portland-based marijuana accessories company Stonedware, told The Journal. "It's not counter-culture anymore."

This spring, upscale department store Barneys New York launched a "luxury cannabis lifestyle shop" called "The High End" in its Los Angeles location, where it sells products like a sterling silver pipe for $1,345, a $630 vape pen, a $920 ashtray, and 24 karat gold rolling papers. 

And in New York City, accessories brand Edie Parker has launched an upscale cannabis accessories line called Flower in its Madison Avenue shop, selling products like $125 mini-bongs, $95 whimsical fruit-shaped pipes, and a $450 tabletop lighter.

While recreational marijuana use is not yet legal in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said last year that legalizing marijuana is one of his top legislative priorities for 2019. And attitudes to the drug are changing swiftly. Baby boomers who previously demonized marijuana use are now lighting up, often for help with sleep and mental health. And a CBD craze has taken hold across the country, with sellers touting wellness benefits and Wall Street expecting sales of the cannabis compound to be a $16 billion industry by 2025.

I recently took a tour of Edie Parker's Flower to get a look at the products. Here's what it's like inside the new upscale head shop.

SEE ALSO: 8 incredible facts about the booming US marijuana industry

DON'T MISS: Here’s what marijuana actually does to your body and brain

Edie Parker, a brand known for its handbags and whimsical home décor, has launched a line of upscale cannabis accessories called Flower, sold in its New York City boutique on ritzy Madison Avenue.

On a recent afternoon, I headed to the Upper East Side to get a look at the new line. 

I was surprised to learn that marijuana paraphernalia was being sold on the Upper East Side of all places, which New York City's tourism website describes as the "leafy home to the city's elite" and "a place for pastry, pearls and pocket squares."

Edie Parker, which is known for its handbags and quirky home décor, is planning on expanding its marijuana accessories line to include vape pens and other products, according to founder and creative director Brett Heyman.

Heyman said she's "hopeful" that recreational marijuana will soon be legalized in New York City.

The first thing I noticed upon looking in the window was a bong overflowing with a display of faux flowers.

A rather on-the-nose reference to the name of the line, I thought.

Several Flower products were displayed in the front window. Delicate and colorful glass pipes nestled in with coasters, perfume bottles, and other home accessories.

The cannabis accessories seemed to fit right in with the brand's other fanciful products. 

An artful display of mini-bongs, glass pipes, and lighters sat alongside an outer space-themed clutch and more faux flower petals.

I was somewhat surprised that the cannabis accessories were so prominently displayed in the front window. It was a stark contrast to the neighboring Chanel and Oscar de la Renta boutiques.

From the inside of the store, the flower display expands dramatically out of the bong to reach up to the ceiling.

The colorful, whimsical boutique was a far cry from other smoke shops I've seen, which are often overcrowded with products and don't seem to give much thought to design.

The front half of the store is primarily devoted to handbags and home accessories.

Anchoring the back section of the store is a table displaying the bulk of the Flower line.

I saw colorful mini-bongs, fruit-shaped pipes, stash jars, rolling trays and papers, glass tips for joints, matchbox covers, lighters, and more.

I immediately noticed there were no price tags on anything. A sales associate told me the tabletop lighter (left) is $450 and the mini-bongs (right) are $125 a piece.

Edie Parker's founder and creative director, Brett Heyman, told me in an email that none of the items in their home collection have price tags.

"It is simply an aesthetic decision, it has nothing to do with price transparency," Heyman said. "All of the handbags have price tags inside."

According to the website, the most expensive Flower product is a $1,095 acrylic "Leaf Go Go Bag," to carry "your not-so-secret stash," which I don't remember seeing in the store.

The Flower line includes hand-blown glass pipes in the shape of various fruits, from strawberries to bananas to a bunch of grapes.

They range in price from $95 to $115.

While the entire collection has a playful vibe, these lighters made me laugh out loud.

Part of me wished they'd named the entire line "Weedie Parker" instead of Flower.

Heyman said she hopes the Flower products will appeal to "women of all ages who want to have a good time. And hopefully some men, too."

I could certainly see how the design-oriented products — which could almost double as interior décor — would appeal to my own friends. But personally, I wouldn't pay $125 for a mini-bong unless I was giving it as a gift. 

The line will continue to expand to offer vape pens and other products.

Heyman told me they'll be releasing "an expanded breadth of lifestyle products, and working on a vape pen and pre-rolls which we will launch in the fall." 

The pre-rolled joints will not be sold in New York, of course, but only in Los Angeles. Edie Parker has also developed three cannabis strains available in Los Angeles through a delivery service called Emjay.

To me, Flower and other high-end (pun intended) marijuana accessories shops are emblematic of how dramatically weed culture is changing in the US.

In her Wall Street Journal article, Lane Florsheim questioned, "Is stoner culture as we knew it over forever?"

While that question may be up for debate, there seems to be no clearer sign that there's a major cultural shift surrounding recreational marijuana use than that a luxury brand is marketing it to affluent New Yorkers on the Upper East Side.

A $10.5 billion fund at Canyon Partners has loaded up on cash amid a shaky stock market

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 12:29pm

  • Canyon Partners' flagship fund, Realization Value, began shifting its portfolio to cash before last year's market sell-offs, according to an investor letter viewed by Business Insider.
  • The $10.5 billion fund, which is run by Josh Friedman and Mitch Julis, is now 18% cash as of the end of the first quarter, the letter states. At the end of March of 2018, the portfolio held no cash.
  • The fund has returned nearly 8% through the first three months of 2019. 
  • For more stories like this, visit Business Insider's homepage.

Canyon Partners' $10.5 billion flagship fund has spent the last 12 months pulling back from equities and filling its portfolio with cash, according to the fund's first quarter letter to investors.

The Los Angeles-based manager, which is run by Josh Friedman and Mitch Julis, told investors that the Value Realization's portfolio is now nearly a fifth cash — 18%, to be exact — as of the end of the first quarter. After 2018's first quarter, the fund's portfolio held no cash. 

"[The fund] is now characterized not only by less exposure, but also by less risky exposure," the letter reads.

A representative for Canyon declined to comment. 

The letter also notes that while predicting macro and political outcomes is not the specialty of the firm, which is best known for its credit investing prowess, the "caustic, polarized political discourse" and "largely untested fragilities in market structure, as illiquid assets have increasingly found their way into highly liquid investment vehicles," has forced the fund to cut back on its exposure. 

See more: Billionaire real-estate investor Sam Zell says now is 'the time to accumulate capital' for future real-estate buys as a glut approaches

The fund has gotten off to a good start to 2019, returning nearly 8% for investors through the first quarter. The average hedge fund in that time returned 5.9%, according to Hedge Fund Research, the best first quarter in more than a decade. 

Canyon told investors that it began to hold more cash in the second and third quarter of 2018 when the market began a serious sell-off that tanked many hedge funds' entire 2018 performance. 

"In hindsight, we were fortunate to have reduced [the fund's] level of investedness by 9% over the six months preceding Q4 2018, and by another 4% over the course of October and November prior to the market lows in December. This cash accumulation gave us the flexibility to act as a liquidity provider rather than a liquidity seeker when the markets entered freefall," the letter reads. 

So far in 2019, the fund's performance has been driven by its equity portfolio, mainly an unnamed gaming company that has been a rumored acquisition target, and its investment in Puerto Rican debt. 

In a recent interview with Business Insider, Friedman said that his firm is spending $1 billion to short the commercial real estate market. 

"The underwriting for the individual mortgages is looser than it used to be. There's a higher percentage of interest-only loans, there are lower-quality borrowers in terms of their ability to hit income projections, and the performance has deteriorated," said Friedman, who also shorted mortgages before the housing crisis. 

See more: Josh Friedman, the hedge fund titan who predicted the mortgage crisis, explains why his firm is spending $1 billion to short the commercial real estate market

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: WATCH: The legendary economist who predicted the housing crisis says the US will win the trade war

I've opened multiple high-yield savings accounts to earn 200 times more interest on my money, but I won't pull the trigger unless it has 3 things

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 12:28pm

  • High-yield savings accounts tend to pay about 2% interest, which is 200 times more than what you get at a traditional nationwide bank with a savings account that can pay as little as .01%.
  • Eric Rosenberg has opened a handful of high-yield savings accounts over the years and avoids accounts that charge fees for going below a minimum balance or otherwise have strings attached.
  • He looks for fee-free accounts that pay a high interest rate with no strings and are be easy to use so he can manage his cash on any device.

When it comes to managing your money, your checking account is the hub of your finances, where new money comes in and expenses come out.

But you shouldn't use that checking account as a home for too much cash. Beyond a month or so of expenses, you should keep your cash in a savings account to earn more interest. A high-yield savings account may be perfect for this use.

I have opened a few high-yield savings accounts over the years for different purposes, and my current favorites are Ally, Capital One, and Charles Schwab.

Unlike a checking account, I won't touch my savings account that often. That means I don't care about ATM fees or most transactional costs. Instead, I focused on the criteria below to make sure I found the right fit.

Zero fees with no minimum balance

The biggest way most banks make money is lending. To fund loans, they use money stored in checking, savings, certificates of deposit, and other deposit accounts. Not only does keeping your cash savings at a bank not cost it money (beyond customer service and statement costs), but they also lend that money out to make a profit.

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I'm a strong believer that you shouldn't have to pay a bank to store money there. That means I would open a savings account only at a bank with no monthly or annual fees and no minimum balances to avoid those fees.

Federal banking regulations restrict you from making more than six withdrawals per month from a savings account. I expect to see some fees for things like cashier's checks and wire transfers. But for just putting my money there and letting it sit, I would never choose an account that charges fees.

High interest rate with no strings attached

The biggest nationwide banks offer as little as 0.01% interest on savings account balances. The average interest rate around the US is about 0.1%, or 10 times what you get from the worst accounts. But high-yield savings accounts are paying more than 2%. That's 200 times what you get at the big traditional banks and 20 times what you get on average.

Don't settle for average! My sister recently moved her savings from one of the top five banks in the US to Ally Bank for a better interest rate at my suggestion. She called me, excited, the next month to tell me how much she earned in interest. Her only regret was not moving that money sooner.

Some banks try to lure in new customers with teaser interest rates. Some require a minimum balance or certain transaction requirements to get the best rates. Don't settle for that for savings. Don't rush into an account without reading the fine print. Look at the bank's interest rate trends and requirements before signing up.

Easy to use

In 2019, all banks and credit unions should have online systems and apps that make it easy and intuitive to manage your money. I want the option to connect my accounts to an app like Mint. I want the ability to link accounts at other banks and transfer funds at no charge. And, what should go without saying but doesn't: I want a bank I can trust.

I have tried out a couple of online high-yield savings accounts that I closed for customer-service or system issues. Knowing how easy it is to open a savings account online, I won't sit around and tolerate a poor banking experience. Neither should you!

!function(){function e(){var e=document.createElement("script"),n=document.getElementById("myFinance-widget-script"),a=t+"static/widget/myFinance.js";e.type="text/javascript",e.async=!0,e.src=a,n.parentNode.insertBefore(e,n);var c="myFinance-widget-css";if(!document.getElementById(c)){var d=document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0],i=document.createElement("link");,i.rel="stylesheet",i.type="text/css",i.href=t+"static/widget/myFinance.css","all",d.appendChild(i)}}var t="";document.attachEvent?document.attachEvent("onreadystatechange",function(){"complete"===document.readyState&&e()}):document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded",e,!1)}();

Also, look out for a history of bad behavior before picking a bank. For example, Wells Fargo has dealt with a string of incidents regarding fraud, mishandling loans, and other breaches of customer trust. I really like Wells Fargo's community-involvement initiatives. I opened accounts there in college after the bank funded a portion of my college scholarship. But I don't feel like I can trust the company with my money today.

Don't settle for a bad savings account

We live in a time with great savings accounts and simple self-service to open, fund, and manage your account. Top high-yield accounts take about five minutes to open. Linking to a checking or savings account at another bank takes just a few minutes more.

With less than 15 minutes of work, you can earn more or save on fees. That's exactly what I did with my money, what I helped my family do with their money, and believe virtually anyone with basic computer skills should do as well.

Millions of people settle for bad interest rates, big fees, poor customer service, and frustrating experiences with their accounts. If that sounds familiar, it may be time to upgrade to a new high-yield savings account to do more with your money.

Considering a high-yield savings account? Take look at these offers from our partners:

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Despite the tech Cold War with China, Wall Street says Salesforce is in a strong position and will see little impact (CRM)

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 9:07pm

  • On Tuesday, Salesforce beat Wall Street's expectations and reported a revenue of $3.74 billion, up 24% from last year.
  • On Wednesday, Salesforce's stock was up 5%.
  • Salesforce co-CEO and cofounder Marc Benioff acknowledged some concerns around a tech Cold War with China.
  • Analysts believe Salesforce is safe from these pressures because it's largely an American business and resists foreign clouds, and as more companies move to the cloud, Salesforce will continue to have plenty of growth opportunity.
  • Read more on the Business Insider homepage.

Despite the uncertainties roiling global markets because of the trade war, Wall Street thinks Salesforce is a safe choice in the software market and that it's poised to grow even more.

Salesforce expanded its top-line 24% year-over-year, generating revenue of $3.74 billion during its most recent quarter, the company reported this week. The results beat analyst expectations and sent Salesforce shares up 5%, or $7.63, on Wednesday. 

Analysts credited some of the upside to positive results from the MuleSoft acquisition and its growth in government and European businesses.

While Salesforce acknowledged that there was some anxiety around the trade situation, investors seem to believe the company is less vulnerable than others to the tariffs and other risks of the escalating tech Cold War between the US and China. 

"Salesforce is more insulated than the overall technology sector when it comes to President Trump's trade policy with China, which has been a major point of emphasis for uncertainty and volatility in the overall market," Brian Pirri, the principal at New England Investment and Retirement Group, wrote in a note to investors.

The UBS analyst Jennifer Lowe wrote in a note that Salesforce "isn't seeing any impact on results today."

'An ocean liner surrounded by speed boats'

As Salesforce seeks to maintain its healthy revenue growth rates, a bigger threat than the trade war may be the rising competition. From Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP to a crop of fast-growing startups, Salesforce's business is under siege on many fronts. 

Read more: The $6.5 billion acquisition that everyone hated a year ago was the only thing everyone loved about Salesforce's latest quarter

Rebecca Wettemann, the vice president of research at Nucleus Research, said Salesforce may face some competition from Microsoft, but it has also done well in making its artificial-intelligence technology accessible to new users.

"Salesforce's ability to rapidly productize and make things accessible for customers to use is a key part of their success," Wettemann told Business Insider. Marty Wolf, the founder and president of Martinwolf, echoed the sentiment, describing Salesforce as "an ocean liner surrounded by speed boats."

And with so many businesses shifting their operations to the cloud, the market is huge, analysts say. 

Pirri estimates that it's possible that Salesforce's revenue can double in the next four years, as there are opportunities through acquisitions, expansions, and acquisitions with tech giants like Amazon and Google.

SEE ALSO: Salesforce co-founder Parker Harris explained how Salesforce created the App Store URL and gave it away to Steve Jobs

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Here's what could happen to Google and its $137 billion business empire if it loses the antitrust battle (GOOG, GOOGL)

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 8:12pm

  • From Donald Trump to Elizabeth Warren, it's not difficult to find people who think Google has become too powerful. But when it comes to what to do about Google's power there's no easy answer.

  • As the US Justice Department is reportedly preparing an antitrust investigation into Google, Business Insider spoke to several antitrust experts to get a sense for some of the ways the probe could play out. 
  • Unlike what's happened to Google in the EU, experts said hefty fines are an unlikely result since the company does not have an existing agreement, or consent decree, with the DOJ. 
  • Also, given the sheer difficulty of unwinding past acquisitions, experts also don't think a "break up" of Google is probable. 
  • Instead, they think a blocking of future acquisitions would be the most likely outcome should an investigation by the DOJ take place. 
  • And, as multiple Wall Street analysts told Business Insider, a strain on future deals for Google could pose significant risks to the tech giant's business. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

From Donald Trump to Elizabeth Warren, it's not difficult to find people who think Google has become too powerful.

But when it comes to what to do about Google's power, there's no easy answer.

The internet giant controls more than 37% of the online ad market, more than 92% of the search market, it owns the world's largest video streaming site, and it makes the software used on 8 out of 10 of the world's phones. That ubiquity has prompted calls to curb Google's power. 

According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, the US Justice Department is preparing an antitrust investigation into Google. 

It's still unclear what part of Google's business the DOJ probe will target, let alone what kind of sanctions might be on the table. Given Google's massive and diverse businesses — including the fact that Google is itself part of the larger, Alphabet holding company — there's a wide range of outcomes that could result from the regulatory action, including increased oversight, new restrictions on its business expansion and even the B-word (breakup!). 

Business Insider spoke to several antitrust experts and Wall Street analysts to get a sense of some of the ways this could play out and the risks facing Google. Here's what they say could happen to Google if it is found to have violated antitrust rules. 

No more fines

Since it was founded two decades ago, Google's biggest trouble from government regulators has come in the form of financial penalties. In the US, Google has amassed a collection of modest fines for violating privacy rules. In Europe, the penalties have been stiffer. The European Commission has fined Google roughly $10 billion over the years for various anticompetitive practices.

Whether or not those penalties are effective with a company that has over $100 billion in cash on its balance sheet and which generated $137 billion in annual revenue last year is up for debate. But according to many experts Business Insider spoke to, it's not a debate that will happen with the latest US antitrust push.

"I don't think a fine is going to be on the table," Baltimore University law professor Robert Lande told Business Insider.

That's because, as Lande explained, the DOJ cannot levy a fine against Google unless the company had violated a pre-existing agreement. And today, no such agreement, or consent decree, exists between Google and the DOJ.

"If there's a settlement, anything is possible. But a fine would be for a violation of an agreement. Unless they violated some sort of agreement with the government, then you can't do a fine," Lande said. 

New York University Law Professor Harry First agreed that hefty fines were an improbable outcome for an antitrust probe. 

"It would be an order to stop doing whatever they're doing. Maybe require them to do certain things they haven't been doing that might bring competition to whatever areas the government looks at," First said. "But no money."

'Looking to the EU cases against Google is where I'd begin'

Another reason Google doesn't need to worry about big fines in the US is because of the way US regulators assess the damage caused by anticompetitive behavior compared to the way it's done in Europe.

"The EU focuses more on harm to competitors, while the US focuses on harm to consumers," said Rutgers University Law Professor Michael Carrier. In a world of free consumer web services — from Gmail to Android — it's difficult to make the case that consumers are being harmed. 

That said, the action across the Atlantic provides a good blueprint for the parts of Google's business that the DOJ might home in on. In particular, Google's advertising business, its search business, and the Android software have all proven to be successful targets of investigation by EU authorities.

Read more: Elizabeth Warren pulled a ninja move to turn tech angst into a crackdown with real teeth, and tech is going to suffer even if she's not president

"Looking to the EU cases against Google is where I'd begin," said Carrier.  "On search, did Google favor its own shopping services over rivals? On ads, what effect did exclusivity clauses have? And on Android, what about bundling Google software with Android?" 

Although these areas of past infractions may be a starting point for the DOJ, a source on Capitol Hill who recently spoke to Business Insider said the DOJ investigation will likely be open to looking at "everything" about Google. 

Breaking up is not easy to do

The big question is whether a potential DOJ enforcement action against Google would have any more teeth than the Federal Trade Commission's 2013 antitrust investigation of Google's search and smartphone business practices.

Google walked away from that encounter without incurring any financial penalties and having committed itself only to vague promises to change some business practices, an outcome derided by many critics as a slap on the wrist. 

Perhaps, given the current political climate and rhetoric around breaking up "big tech," things will be different this time. For one of the first times since the Progressive Era of the early 1900s, the concentration of corporate power is a hot-button topic in the upcoming presidential election. 

Outspoken politicians — like Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren — have called for a break up of the tech industry's major players, including Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. For Google, Warren said that to "unwind" the search giant, she would start by having the company divest major acquisitions like its map service Waze, smart home hardware company Nest, and advertising platform DoubleClick. 

That may be easier said than done though. Multiple antitrust experts who spoke to Business Insider this week said the likelihood of a breakup is low. 

"It is very difficult to unwind previous acquisitions," said Rutgers University's Carrier. "The companies have been merged and it's hard to 'unscramble the eggs.'" 

For instance, Nest — which was acquired by Google in 2014 — has now been fully absorbed into the company's hardware division. In May, at this year's I/O developer's conference, the company announced the branding for its smart home products will now be "Google Nest," as in, the "Google Nest Learning Thermostat" and the "Google Nest Secure Alarm." 

Internal silos between the former Nest team and Google's own hardware division have also gone away, Nest's VP of Product Rishi Chandra told Business Insider in a recent interview

"It's one team now. One roadmap across the entire organization," Chandra said.

Because of the difficulties a true "break up," experts said that a more plausible outcome for the DOJ probe was the agency blocking future deals for Google. And for the tech giant, that could pose potential risks. 

"[The DOJ] absolutely can block any acquisitions," Michael Pachter, a Managing Director at Wedbush Securities, told Business Insider this week. "[I] doubt there are many companies Google 'needs' to buy... [but] blocking future acquisitions is always a risk for any large company." 

As for where Google could be hurt the most if the DOJ goes for a "blocking," rather "break up" strategy, Managing Director at Wedbush Securities Dan Ives told us it would likely be the company's cloud computing business, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), which today stands at a distant third in the market behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. 

"The main issue here is if this limits Google's focus on acquisitions around GCP," Ives said. "With [Thomas] Kurian coming to Google, this was the drumroll to much more significant M&A in cloud."

Kurian was brought on as Google's cloud boss in January, replacing Diane Greene. Coming off 22 years at Oracle, Kurian was expected to help the company's cloud business compete with the likes of Amazon and Microsoft in the enterprise space. Part of moving up-market faster, analysts expected, would come through M&A. 

Now, Ives said that even if the probe doesn't happen, the potential of the investigation may make Google shy away from a more aggressive acquisition strategy. 

"It feels like the wings are being clipped by the shadows of the DOJ antitrust investigation," Ives said. "I would be surprised if they aggressively went after M&A's now that there's a bright spotlight on them." 

SEE ALSO: Big tech's giant power could be challenged in blockbuster antitrust probes — here's what that means for Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google

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The job market is so hot that one restaurant 'moved to counter service and disposable utensils' to stay open

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 6:09pm

A tight labor market takes on many forms.

Some businesses like Target and Costco are raising their minimum wages to attract workers. Others are offering employees new perks. And one restaurant in the Fed's Richmond district had to start throwing away its forks and knives.

"A few hospitality contacts said that labor shortages led to cutting back on services," the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond said on Wednesday in the latest Beige Book report, which details business sentiment and economic conditions on a local level.

"Moreover, one restaurant moved to counter service and disposable utensils in order to remain open with a smaller staff," it added. 

That anecdote, from a restaurant in the Fed's fifth district, highlights the lengths to which businesses are going to stay competitive amid ultra-low unemployment in the US. The unemployment rate in April fell to 3.6%, its lowest level since December 1969. It's expected to dip to 3.5% when the latest employment report is released on Friday, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg.  

The Federal Reserve branch also said several restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina, "closed because they couldn't find enough staff."

Read more: Jobs report crushes expectations, unemployment drops to 49-year low

Other Fed branches reported similar findings. 

The St. Louis Fed said that while commercial construction activity "improved slightly," local contacts continued to report labor shortages.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said that a "majority" of its contacts continued reporting labor shortages for low- and medium-skill workers.

"A few respondents also noted shortages in high-skill occupations such as physicians, pilots, accountants, and IT professionals," the Kansas City Fed said, adding it expects wages to rise.

More broadly, the Beige Book's national summary painted a relatively healthy economic picture. But labor shortages remained a sweeping issue, with competition boosting wages across industries. 

"Solid hiring demand was noted for retail, business services, technical, manufacturing, and construction jobs and by staffing agencies in general," the Fed said. "However, stronger employment growth continued to be constrained by tight labor markets, with Districts citing shortages of both high- and low-skill workers."

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Apple Watch still fails at its most basic function — telling the time (AAPL)

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 6:06pm

Apple Watch will soon become an even more capable computer.

But it's still struggling to do the most basic thing expected of a watch — display the time.

Apple on Monday announced a slew of new features for its smartwatch at its annual developers conference. The new version of its operating system — watchOS 6 — will bring Apple's voice-memo and calculator apps to the device. Users will now be able to download apps directly to their watches through its new built-in app store.

Women will be able to track their menstrual cycles with it, using a new app. And the device will even warn users when ambient noise levels get loud enough to damage their hearing. 

Read more: Apple's new watch update is the missing piece of the puzzle the Apple Watch needed, and Fitbit should be worried

But one thing the new software won't do is display the time at all times. Instead, as they have since the first Apple Watch debuted four years ago, users will still have to twist or raise their wrists just to check the hour.

That may not seem like a big deal, but it can be. It can force users to stop whatever they're doing with their hands — typing on a keyboard, say, or carrying luggage — just to check the time.

It's also just a plain design failure. The most essential function of a watch is to display the time, to allow the wearer to see the hour at just a simple glance. The vast majority of traditional wristwatches and many of Apple Watch's rivals offer this simple, basic function. Why can't Apple's smartwatch?

Battery life isn't a good excuse for not displaying the time

An Apple representative confirmed that watchOS 6 won't include an always-on time feature but declined to explain the company's rationale for leaving it out. So I don't exactly know what the thinking is in Cupertino, California.

But company officials would probably argue that it would diminish the device's battery life. And they could probably make a strong case that the device is selling pretty well without that ability.

That may be true, but I think many users would opt for an always-on screen if they had a choice, battery life be damned. And I'm no expert, but I would think that there are ways to minimize the effect on the device's charge.

The Apple Watch comes with an OLED screen. That type of screen doesn't have a backlight; instead, it can be set to illuminate only the particular pixels it needs for each image it displays. It likely wouldn't need a lot of power to display just a digital readout of the time or a simple pair of watch hands on a black background. Apple could also limit battery drain by not displaying the time with full brightness or use the watch's built-in ambient-light sensor to adjust the brightness on the fly.

The company seems to recognize that customers use the Apple Watch as a timepiece. With watchOS 6, users will be able to set the device to buzz them every hour, on the hour. And the updated software, like its predecessors, will come with a new collection of watch faces. Many of these are customizable; users can have them display the date, their appointment or, now, the noise level around them.

What they can't do is have these watch faces show the time all the time. Until they can, Apple Watch will be a smart gadget but a really dumb watch.

Got a tip about Apple or the tech industry? Contact this reporter via email at, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: Apple's new services 'aren't hobbies,' a testy Tim Cook told analysts

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I tested a $50,000 Acura TLX A-Spec PMC Edition to check out the limited-run sedan and decide if it's worth the price

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 5:42pm

  • The Acura TLX A-Spec PMC Edition is a limited-run, hand-built version of the excellent TLX A-Spec sedan.
  • For a vehicle of which just 360 will be produced, the Acura TLX A-Spec PMC Edition is a genuine bargain.
  • The PMC Edition doesn't drive any differently than the regular TLX A-Spec, but it has all the features Acura can throw into it, and it's also available in a stunning "Valencia Red Pearl" paint job.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec was a sleeper hit for Business Insider's 2017 Car of the Year award. We named the compact sedan from Honda's luxury brand our runner-up and unidentified it as a viable rival for Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Lexus, but at a tasty, feature-packed price.

More recently, Acura decided to do a special edition TLX A-Spec, building 360 examples by hand in Ohio, where the company also manufactures its NSX supercar.

These cars get the PMC treatment — "Performance Manufacturing Center" — but they aren't way more expensive than the regular A-Specs. But the rare birds do have a standout lineage, and can be painted "Valencia Red Pearl," one of the more gorgeous automotive colors currently available on planet Earth. (The car goes on sale later this year, by the way.)

Acura put car number 000/360 on the floor of the New York auto show for a few weeks earlier this year, and when the show wrapped, they asked us if we wanted to borrow the vehicle for a few days. We said, "Heck yes!"

The big question was, "Would car 000 be something special?"

Cut to the chase: It was — and it's still a great bargain!

Read on to find out why.

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The 2020 Acura TLX A-Spec PMC Edition arrived in dashing "Valencia Red Pearl" paint job.

The TLX A-Spec was a Business Insider Car of the Year runner-up in 2017.

Read the review.

The Acura TLX A-Spec PMC Edition is the only other Acura that can share a color scheme with the NSX supercar. Both vehicles are built in Ohio. American made!

I have nothing against Ferrari red, but THIS Acura red is stunning.

A special package includes TLX A-Spec PMC specific features, including black 19-inch wheels.

The car's fascia is, to be honest, sort of awkward and beaky. But it grows on you.

A set of "Jewel Eye" LED headlights would define the TLX A-Spec PMC's front end, if not for that brash, angular, blacked-out grille.

The Acura TLX A-Spec PMC, like the nearly (but not quite) identical TLX A-Spec, has a subtle-but-impressive road presence. The car has pretty much everything on offer for the TLX, to go along with the hand-built PMC Edition coolness.

The rear end is beautifully carved, with a sweet decklid spoiler and blacked-out exhaust pipes.

SH-AWD stands for "super handling all-wheel-drive" — translated, that means the TLX can send traction to the wheel that needs it most.

And of course "A-Spec" is Acura's name for the more intensely sporty exterior and interior treatment.

The car has a fastback roofline, but it isn't a hatchback: the truck lid opens to reveal a capacious cargo area, large enough to swallow up three of four suitcases.

At the other end, we have the TLX's superb engine ...

... A 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 — no turbocharger, just motor! And it's exactly the same powerplant as on the non-PMC TLX A-Spec.

It's fantastic. "We're being compelled to deal with more and more turbocharging on luxury vehicles, but the TLX's mill is all motor, and it punches above spec, at least in the feel department," I wrote in my original TLX A-Spec review.

"I thought I had more than 300 horses the entire time, testament to how that V6 in combination with a 9-speed automatic does a passable imitation of a small V8. The 0-60 mph run can be achieved in about six seconds, which isn't bonkers fast, but the TLX A-Spec comes into its own when you call on it to pass or want to cleanly access the power while modulating speed."

There are a few reminders that this Acura TLX is more special than the non-A-Spec version ...

... including a shout-out on the floor mats.

So let's slip inside and sample the TLX A-Spec PMC's interior.

The front seats are wonderful: in the case of our tester, black leather combined with suave Alcantara, and just enough bolstering to grip you when the driving gets frisky. They're also heated and cooled.

The rear seats are less purposeful, but they're perfectly comfortable. Legroom is about what you'd expect in a compact sedan: not bad, but not great, either.

Overall, the TLX A-Spec PMC's interior is more than up to par for the sport-luxury segment.

A moonroof floods the cabin with light.

The leather-wrapped steering wheel gets some snazzy red topstitching and a tiny A-Spec logo. The numerous buttons and knobs enable the driver to operate the infotainment system without taking their hands off the wheel. The steering wheel is heated, and the instrument cluster is old-school analog.

So the Acura TLX A-Spec PMC is a hand-built machine, and that fact is commemorated by a small plaque in the center console. "PMC" is for "Performance Manufacturing Center," located Ohio. Our tester car was number 000 of 360 — the very first example, fresh off the floor of the New Your auto show.

The hand-building process involves unpainted bodies going from Honda/Acura's Ohio factory to the PMC studio, where the engine, transmission, and suspension are added. The cars are then painted, seats are installed, the rest of interior is completed, and the vehicle is ready to go.

The selector for the transmission has a learning curve, but it isn't steep. The drive can also access the drive modes with this setup and activate the brake-hold feature for stop-and-go-driving or waiting at traffic lights.

Wireless charging is always a plus!

Acura's two-screen infotainment system works well if you're running Apple CarPlay on one screen. Otherwise, it seems sort of redundant.

The system is effective, however. It isn't as modern-feeling as some other systems we've tested, but the GPS navigation works fine, Bluetooth integration is excellent, there are USB/AUX ports for mobile devices, and a reasonably good set of cameras.

The Acura TLX A-Spec PMC's key fob is also quite nice, enabling remote start — a great feature on hot or cold days.

So how does the limited-edition Acura TLX A-Spec PMC stack up against the car we sampled in 2017?

As I wrote in my review of the TLX A-Spec, "Acuras are more fun to drive than Lexuses, less fun than BMWs, different from Audis (I tend to find Acuras to be better for daily driving duty), more youthful than Mercedes, and less juicy than Cadillacs."

They are, in other words, their own thing. And the PMC Edition is its own thing. The TLX A-Spec we tested in 2017 stickered at about $46,000, and the PMC version isn't expected to much costlier: probably $50,000.

The driving experience was the same, which is to say wonderful. The engine delivers a 0-60 mph run of six seconds, not crazy fast but fast enough, and the power from that V6 is smooth — you appreciate this car's virtues on the freeway.

And while all the PMC trim does for the spec sheet is add a few thousand dollars worth of goodies, the hand-built aspect of that package is genuinely compelling. For about 50 grand, you get to own one of just 360 cars.

I sort of expect all 360 to be "Valencia Red Pearl" in color — because it is just about the most beautiful red currently on the market, and you previously had to buy an NSX to get it. It's hypnotically lovely. Trust me. I would honestly never get tired of looking at this car.

And hey, it's an Acura and therefore built (by hand!) to last for decades. So you could look forward to years and years of happy, you know — looking!

PODCAST: How Enron’s emails helped create new technologies, fight terrorism, and added to our understanding of how we communicate.

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 4:24pm

Enron collapsed nearly 20 years ago, but chances are something you use today was affected by emails sent by 150 of the company’s top employees. These emails — about meetings and energy markets but also affairs, divorces, and fraud — have helped create new technologies, fight terrorism, and added to our understanding of how we communicate. But should these emails have been released in the first place?

Join the conversation about this story »

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An LA real-estate broker with $5 billion in sales reveals how she sells mega-mansions in a city overflowing with them, from energy cleansing to unveiling a home like a movie premiere

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 4:19pm


As more and more mega-mansions hit the market in Los Angeles, real-estate agents and developers are forced to get increasingly creative to generate sales in a buyer's market. 

Brokers are turning to lavish, themed parties and $100 million price cuts in order to get the extravagant mansions off the market, as Business Insider's Hillary Hoffower recently reported. Or they're putting them up for rent instead. 

"The problem in this market that we're currently facing is that because there is oversaturation, what happens is, if you're a buyer and you tell your agent you want to see everything from $20 to $40 million, there's a lot of options," Rayni Williams, a broker at Hilton & Hyland with more than $5 billion in career sales, recently told Business Insider.

With so much choice, buyers don't feel an "urgency" to make an offer, she added. 

In an interview with Business Insider, Williams, who works with her husband, Branden Williams, explained how they "create urgency" and sell multimillion-dollar luxury homes, even amid a surplus of ultra-luxe mega-mansions in Los Angeles.

Stay tuned for our upcoming feature on @accessonline with @rayniromitowilliams and get a behind-the-scenes look at Bel-Air’s latest masterpiece, 10701 Bellagio Road, and see why every box has been checked for this pinnacle modern estate. - Development by @nileniami @skylinedevelopmentla Architecture by @mccleandesign - ⇲ Visit our link in bio for more

A post shared by Williams & Williams (@williamsandwilliams) on Feb 18, 2019 at 6:06pm PST on Feb 18, 2019 at 6:06pm PST


Step one: Think of the home as a movie premiere

The first thing they do is a strategic unveiling of the home.

"It's a lot like a movie premiere," Williams said. "There's buzz and then there's one fell swoop of an unveiling."

Sometimes, this means throwing an outrageous, super-exclusive party, often with the help of publicist Alexander Ali, founder of The Society Group.

In February 2019, about 500 guests were invited to a mysterious bash at the $55 million mansion of developer Nile Niami, where they found aquatic performers, virtual reality experiences, an edibles bar and, apparently, a camel. 

The event did attract a potential buyer, Williams told The Hollywood Reporter.

Other events are more family-friendly, such as having children's movie nights in the movie theater of a $150 million home or inviting influencers to a mansion to attend a yoga class taught by a celebrity instructor. 

"If you do the proper unveiling, you'll always get the action in the beginning," Williams said.

But if that doesn't work, or if a home requires rebranding after sitting on the market for too long, Williams turns to other strategies.

Step two: Change the energy in the home

For a home on Oriole Way that the Williamses took on as a listing after it sat on the market for a year, they started by changing the energy. 

"First of all, we did an energy cleansing of the house where we took out all the bad energy," she said. "We crystallized it with geodes that brought in great energy. We pumped through beautiful music in the sound system to get it happy and make this beautiful warm setting."

They also shot a mini-movie on the property with a slumber party theme to try to turn the "masculine vibe" into a more "feminine energy," according to Williams.

The film went viral, prompting a flurry of media attention, and the home sold for $27 million, 45 days after Williams put it on the market for $27.95 million, she said.

Los Angeles is not the only luxury market that's struggling

While some real-estate brokers and developers may be seeing some success with their increasingly experimental tactics for selling mansions, luxury real-estate markets in other affluent communities across the country are facing similar troubles.

In the Hamptons, Donald Trump's 2016 federal tax reform is taking a serious toll on the high-end real-estate market. Home prices are plummeting and properties are sitting on the market for months, The New York Times recently reported.

Hamptons home sales are at their lowest levels in seven years, Business Insider's Gina Heeb reported.

And in Greenwich, Connecticut, one of America' wealthiest cities that's been dubbed the "hedge fund capital," people aren't buying sprawling mansions like they used to.

SEE ALSO: Hollywood-style trailers, exclusive dinner parties, and 'Instagram museums': The CEO of a real estate PR firm dishes on how he sells multimillion-dollar mansions to the super-rich

DON'T MISS: An LA mega-mansion listed at $250 million in 2017 has had its price slashed by $100 million, and it's still not selling — here's a look inside

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Shares in Pivotal, a part of the Dell empire, tanked 41% after a 'train wreck' quarter, and Wall Street is warning of 'dark days ahead' (PVTL)

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 4:14pm

  • On Tuesday, Pivotal Software — which is majority-owned by Dell — reported revenues that modestly beat Wall Street's expectations, but much weaker guidance for the next quarter than Wall Street predicted.
  • The stock closed about 40% lower on Wednesday, the first full day of trading following the report. 
  • Pivotal attributed the weakness in part to poor execution of its sales strategy, and says it's taking steps to fix it, like hiring a new sales head for the Americas. 
  • Analysts are more skeptical, and say that it will take a long time for Pivotal to recover, if it can recover at all. 
  • Read more on the Business Insider homepage.

On Tuesday, Pivotal Software — which is majority-owned by Dell — reported earnings, and posted revenue that was above Wall Street earnings. However, it also reported guidance for the next quarter that was much lower than analysts were looking for, and the stock tanked about 41% by the closing bell on Wednesday. 

Bhavan Suri and David Griffin of William Blair called it a "disappointing start to the year," while Wedbush Securities' Daniel Ives called it a "train wreck quarter" and a "back breaker."

"It's a company that's been more reactive than proactive in terms of solving sales execution issues," Ives told Business Insider. "The guidance was a major head scratcher for investors. It caused many to throw in the white towel for stock."

This quarter, Pivotal reported revenues of $185.7 million, an increase of 19% from the previous year. This modestly beat Wall Street's expectations of $184.14 million.

However, Pivotal now expects to generate revenuse of $185 to $189 million next quarter. That's disappointing to Wall Street, which expected $197.75 million. And it doesn't stop at that quarter: For the full fiscal year, Pivotal lowered its revenue outlook to $756 to $767 million, while Wall Street was hoping for a projection of $802.57 million.

"These dynamics were attributed to a combination of deal slippage driven by sales execution issues and sales cycles lengthening due to enterprises taking more time to make decisions in the increasingly complex technology landscape," Suri and Griffin wrote in a note to clients.

A 'nightmare for investors'

To address slowing sales growth, Pivotal plans to put a new sales head of the Americas in place, improve its sales management processes, and introduce a new product that runs on Kubernetes, a popular cloud computing project used to run large-scale applications.

However, Ives says the jury is still out on whether Pivotal can recover from this major stumble, and it's a "nightmare for investors." He said Pivotal dropped the ball when it came to navigating sales cycles and facing rising competition.

The stock is down, Ives says, because investors don't have faith that the managing team have these issues under control, and this quarter showed cracks in Pivotal's business model.

There had been some signs of a slowdown, Ives says, but this was the "straw that broke the camel's back."

Some 'dark days ahead'

Although Pivotal has strong opportunity, Ives says that Pivotal has "some dark days ahead," and the best-case scenario would be an acquisition. However, he doesn't see that happening in the near term, and he does not think any buyer would take a serious look at Pivotal right now.

"I've seen this movie many times before," Ives said. "Usually it's the start of a very difficult period for a company like this. Once the execution starts to suffer and the wheels come off the car...They have a lot of wood to chop to restore credibility to the street after the disaster of this quarter."

Jennifer Lowe, executive director at UBS, wrote that the possibility for recovery is there  — the new sales hire could improve execution, but it will take some time.

Read more: Here's why companies like Google, Square, and Atlassian are sprinting to use Kotlin, the fastest-growing programming language according to GitHub

"We continue to believe that Pivotal's platform will play a key part as enterprises undergo application modernization initiatives," Lowe wrote in a note. "However, recent go-to-market challenges in North America issues may take a few quarters to resolve and we think shares will be range-bound until growth stabilizes and execution improves."

Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at, Telegram at @rosaliechan, or Twitter DM at @rosaliechan17. (PR pitches by email only, please.) Other types of secure messaging available upon request. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: NASCAR is moving 57 years of car racing footage to Amazon's cloud, and says AI will help spin out new shows without thousands of hours of manual tagging

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A high school teacher with a 6-figure side hustle says a 2-part strategy helped him become a millionaire at 35

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 4:07pm

  • Brian Weitzel, a high school economics teacher featured on the personal-finance blog ESI Money, reached a $1 million net worth at age 35.
  • Weitzel's strategy for achieving the milestone was twofold: make savings automatic to max out his retirement accounts, and increase his income.
  • In addition to his day job, Weitzel owns rental properties and runs a six-figure photography business.
  • Multiple financial experts say increasing your earnings is a crucial step to building more wealth.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Rarely does a saving or investing strategy need to be complex to be lucrative. The simpler, the better.

Brian Weitzel, a high school economics teacher recently featured on the personal-finance blog ESI Money, said he reached a $1 million net worth last year, at age 35, thanks to a system he put in place years ago.

Weitzel, who lives with his wife in Detroit and also hosts the business podcast "Ride Your Money Wave," said he has always focused on contributing as much as he could afford to his retirement accounts, which are funded through automatic contributions.

It was only when they started earning additional income from two rental properties and his side photography business that they were able to fast-track their way to the seven-figure club. Weitzel's photography business brought in nearly $176,000 in revenue last year after 11 years up and running, he said. The extra income has gone primarily toward retirement savings and investments and buying property.

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"Strategically, I knew I wanted to build a system where all of my investments were maxed out and automated, forcing me to live below my means and keep my standard of living in check for as long as possible," he wrote on the blog.

Weitzel said the increase in income has helped them direct about $80,000 annually into retirement accounts, which includes maxing out both his Roth 403(b) and 457 plans at $19,000 each; maxing out both his and his wife's Roth IRAs at $12,000 total; maxing out his SEP IRA, a type of individual retirement account for business owners for which the limits depend on income; and maxing out her 401(k) plan at $19,000.

They also have a brokerage account with $71,000, which Weitzel plans to continue funding and eventually use to either retire early, pay monthly mortgage payments, or pay off their mortgage early.

!function(){function e(){var e=document.createElement("script"),n=document.getElementById("myFinance-widget-script"),a=t+"static/widget/myFinance.js";e.type="text/javascript",e.async=!0,e.src=a,n.parentNode.insertBefore(e,n);var c="myFinance-widget-css";if(!document.getElementById(c)){var d=document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0],i=document.createElement("link");,i.rel="stylesheet",i.type="text/css",i.href=t+"static/widget/myFinance.css","all",d.appendChild(i)}}var t="";document.attachEvent?document.attachEvent("onreadystatechange",function(){"complete"===document.readyState&&e()}):document.addEventListener("DOMContentLoaded",e,!1)}();

Financial experts often talk about the value of increasing income in order to build more wealth.

Financial planner Eric Roberge said cutting costs is necessary, but if you've hit a limit and it's possible to earn more money, the benefit will be much greater. "If you can take the cap off of that and increase your income — it's not always easy to do that, which is probably why people don't pay attention to it — but if you can do that, it gives you a lot more room to both spend and save," he said.

Ramit Sethi, author of the bestseller "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" said audiences are generally resistant to his advice to earn more money, mainly because they don't think they're capable or have the time.

"When you embrace the idea that you can earn more, one of the biggest surprises you'll discover is that you already possess skills others would pay for — and you've never even realized it," Sethi wrote in his book. 

Join the conversation about this story »

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Rihanna is the world's richest female musician — from yachting trips on the French Riviera to a staff that includes a chef and personal trainers, see how she spends her $600 million fortune

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 3:34pm

With an estimated net worth of $600 million, Rihanna, 31, is the world's richest female musician, reported Natalie Robehmed of Forbes.

That level of wealth puts her a long ways from her childhood. "When I was younger, I couldn't afford everything, but a pair of Timberlands: That was my Dior," Rihanna told T: The New York Times Style Magazine. "And I had to save my money for a whole school year to get those Timberlands that I wanted, and I did it."

It's a determined attitude that helped the singer get to where she is today. Her fortune isn't just from her music — she's been able to grow it through brand partnerships and her own product lines. 

While she's known to splurge on beauty, fashion, and vacations, Rihanna prioritizes spending money on others, whether it's her family or those in need. She's heavily involved in charity work and was named Harvard's humanitarian of the year in 2017, reported Kelly Lawler for USA Today.

Below, see how Rihanna earns and spends her fortune.

SEE ALSO: Taylor Swift just dropped a new single — from bicoastal mansions to lavish vacations, see how she spends her $320 million-plus fortune

SEE ALSO: Beyoncé is worth $355 million — see how she spends it on lavish mansions, yachting vacations, and a private jet for Jay-Z

Rihanna is currently worth an estimated $600 million, which she's earned from undertakings that span a variety of industries. According to Forbes, she is now the world's wealthiest female musician.

Source: Forbes

The singer has earned millions from her tours. Her most prolific, the Diamonds World Tour in 2013, grossed more than $140 million worldwide.

Source: Billboard via Insider

She also profits from tour sponsorships. Rihanna reportedly signed a $25 million contract to promote Samsung on her 2016 Anti World Tour.

Source: New York Post via Insider

She's sold more than 60 million albums and 215 million digital tracks. In 2016, she reportedly earned $7.6 million from streaming and $2.5 million from sales.

Source: Roc Nation, Billboard

Rihanna is also part-owner in the streaming service Tidal, which has sold stakes for millions of dollars.

Source: Insider

But music is only part of Rihanna's fortune. She's appeared in films such as "Home," "Annie," and "Ocean's 8," which earned $41.5 million from its box office opening in 2018.

Source: Variety, Insider

Rihanna has also designed collections for brands such as Armani and River Island, and she has a creative partnership with MAC. She's made deals with several companies, ranging from Dior to Cover Girl.

Source: Rihanna Now via Insider

That's not to mention her role as creative director for Puma, creating clothing and shoe lines that have done exceptionally well. Rihanna took on the role in 2014.

Source: Insider, Time

Rihanna has released 11 fragrances throughout the years. Her debut scent, Reb'l Fleur, brought in an estimated $80 million in sales.

Source: Rolling Stone via Insider

But Rihanna's net worth largely comes from her partnership with French luxury-goods giant LVMH. LVMH reportedly owns half of Rihanna's makeup brand, Fenty Beauty, while Rihanna herself reportedly owns 15% — and it's worth a reported $3 billion.

Source: Forbes

Just 15 months after its September 2017 launch, Fenty Beauty raked in $570 million in revenue.

Source: Forbes

In May, LVMH and Rihanna launched Fenty, a clothing house with clothes, shoes, accessories, and jewelry.

Source: Forbes

Rihanna also co-owns the Savage X Fenty lingerie line with online fashion firm TechStyle Fashion, which includes "Xccessories" — a sex toy line.

Source: Vogue

"I never thought I'd make this much money, so a number is not going to stop me from working," she told T: The New York Times Style Magazine.

Source: T: The New York Times Style Magazine

Rihanna has dabbled in real estate. She reportedly owns a three-bedroom, four-bathroom apartment at The Century condos in Los Angeles, which she paid $5.45 million for in 2014.

Source: Observer

In 2016, she reportedly spent $925,000 on a condo on The Wilshire Corridor, known as "the Millionaire Mile," In Los Angeles.

Source: Yolanda's Little Black Book

In 2017, Rihanna reportedly paid $6.8 million for a 7,130-square-foot Hollywood Hills estate, which includes a movie theater and spa. After a burglary in 2018, she put it on the market for $7.4 million.

Source: Observer, Bravo

The same year, she also purchased a West Hollywood property for $2.75 million, but put it on the market for $2.85 million three months later and ended up renting it out for $16,500 a month. She eventually sold it in early 2018.

Source: Observer, Variety

Rihanna also rented a lower-Manhattan penthouse, which increased from $39,000 to $50,000 a month from 2013 to 2014. In 2018, it was put on the market for $16.9 million.

Source: Observer

In 2019, Rihanna revealed she's been living in London for a year. She reportedly lives in a seven-bedroom mansion that costs $20,363 a week to rent.

Source: CNN, The Daily Mail

Lately, she's reportedly been recording new music in an estate on Osea Island, which costs an estimated $25,454 to rent a day. It has a gym, cinema, pool, and cottages.

Source: Mirror

When she's not working hard, Rihanna is playing hard. She's been spotted vacationing in Portofino, St. Tropez, Los Cabos, Honolulu, and Barbados, where she's originally from.

Source: Vanity Fair, BET, OK! Magazine, Essence, Refinery29

She's also been known to take yacht vacations. In 2011, she cruised down the French Riviera in a yacht that charters for $300,000 a week. And in 2014, she chartered a yacht around the Cote d'Azur for two weeks.

Source: Boat International, Business Insider

Rihanna drops big money on her nights out. In 2013, she reportedly spent $8,000 in a single night at a Miami strip club, and $17,000 at a strip club in Houston with rapper Drake.

Source: New York Daily News, The Cut

Rihanna also splurges on her appearance, reportedly spending $38,000 a week on beauty alone.

Source: Look

That reportedly includes $2,500 on a personal make-up artist, $7,600 on a personal dermatologist, and $4,000 for contour tanning.

Source: Look

But that weekly number could be even higher — one report says Rihanna shells out nearly $17,834 a week on celebrity hairstylist Ursula Stephen.

Source: The Daily Mail

She also spends on her wardrobe: She's been seen sporting $10,000 Saint Laurent boots and $1,340 Gucci socks.

Source: Whim

Rihanna also takes care of her body. She's had a number of personal trainers over the years, including Harley Pasternak, Dede Lagree, and Jamie Granger.

Source: Business Insider, Livestrong, Footwear News

She also pays for a personal chef, Debbie Solomon, who whips up breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

Source: Bon Appetit

While Rihanna treats herself, she likes to spend her money on opportunities above anything else. She has previously said money helps her take care of her family, facilitate businesses, and create jobs for other people. Rihanna has also given her friends cash for Christmas.

Source: T: The New York Times Style Magazine, YouTube

And she focuses a lot on charity work. In September 2018, she donated 100% of proceeds from Fenty Beauty's Diamond Ball-Out Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter to women and children in need.

Source: Rolling Out

In 2012, she founded the Clara Lionel Foundation to improve education and healthcare for children in impoverished communities. The foundation creates scholarships and hosts fundraising events.

Source: Clara Lionel Foundation

Rihanna's also an ambassador of Barbados, the Global Partnership For Education, and the Global Citizen Project. She spends time traveling and raising money for these roles. In 2017, she spent a week in Malawi as part of an educational trip.

Source: PopSugar

"My money is not for me; it's always the thought that I can help someone else," she said.

Source: T: The New York Times Style Magazine

A YouTuber is getting roasted for posting a video of his Tesla driving on Autopilot without anyone in the driver's seat (TSLA)

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 3:32pm

Despite Tesla's own strict instructions, drivers continue to put their lives — and those of fellow motorists — at risk in pursuit of internet glory.

In the latest iteration, the 19-year-old YouTuber Alex Choi, known for his outlandish Lamborghini, posted a video on Instagram appearing to show himself in the passenger seat of a Tesla Model 3, leaving no one in the drivers seat as the compact luxury electric vehicle cruised on a highway.

...meanwhile, YouTuber and new #TeslaModel3 Performance owner, Alex Choi is posted this video to his Instagram story last night. It's probably the most reckless thing that he's done -- and that's saying something.

— Det Ansinn (@detansinn) June 4, 2019


Shortly after a tweet with a clip of Choi's Instagram story went viral, the scathing headlines began to promulgate.

"This Video of a YouTuber's Tesla Driving on Autopilot With No One in the Driver's Seat Is Deeply Stupid," Jalopnik proclaimed.

"Video of Tesla Model 3 Driving on Autopilot Without Actual Driver Shared by Reckless YouTuber Alex Choi," The Drive chimed in, adding that "this is the same idiot who nearly killed a motorcyclist while doing donuts on a public road. It's time to take someone's license away."

Choi did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

It's far from the first time Autopilot and people who use the "Level 2" driver-assistance software in direct contradiction of the company's guidance has caused problems.

In 2017, a Tesla owner in the United Kingdom was banned from driving for 18 months after pleading guilty to a similar scheme in which he moved to the passenger seat while the car was underway, the Telegraph reported.

Read more: Elon Musk's 'reckless' comment about the capabilities of Tesla's Autopilot could put drivers at risk, an analyst says

Despite CEO Elon Musk's previous statements that Tesla cars "already have full self-driving capability on highways … from highway on-ramp to highway exit, including passing cars and going from one highway interchange to another," the company's own website lists these warnings about Autopilot:

"Autopilot enables your car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its lane," the product's page says. "Current Autopilot features require active driver supervision and do not make the vehicle autonomous."

As for full self-driving, Tesla says that functionality is coming soon, and that all new vehicles have the necessary hardware already built in.

"The system is designed to be able to conduct short and long distance trips with no action required by the person in the driver's seat," the website says. "Your Tesla will figure out the optimal route, navigate urban streets (even without lane markings), manage complex intersections with traffic lights, stop signs and roundabouts, and handle densely packed freeways with cars moving at high speed."

More Tesla news:

SEE ALSO: Dutch police stopped a Tesla driver after he fell asleep while driving on autopilot

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A scary new hack created by researchers can accurately guess your password by listening to the sound of your fingers tapping the phone screen

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 3:30pm

  • Academic researchers have found a new way to determine the passcodes used on smartphones and tablets.
  • The technique they describe in a recent paper relies on the microphones found in most handheld devices to detect the sound waves users generate when they tap on their screens.
  • The technique they created was able to guess nearly three-fourths of the four-digit PINs used within 10 tries in one test.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Hackers may be able to figure out the passcode to your smartphone by just listening in.

Malware can be designed to take advantage of the microphones in handheld devices to compromise their users' passwords and PINs, researchers at the University of Cambridge in England and Sweden's Linköping University reported in a recent paper. The technique they describe, which relies on machine learning, isn't foolproof, but was able to accurately guess more than half of four-digit PINs used on Android tablets in one test case.

"We showed that the attack can successfully recover PIN codes, individual letters and whole words," researchers Ilia Shumailov, Laurent Simon, Jeff Yan, and Ross Anderson said in the paper, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. "We have shown a new acoustic side-channel attack on smartphones and tablets," they continued, and described how to exploit it effectively."

The paper has yet to be peer reviewed, but was published on a site Cornell University maintains for academic research studies.

Read this: One of the internet's creators says there's a potential of severe dangers from the 'avalanche of devices' on the network

The technique relies on sound waves and microphones

When people tap on the screens of their smartphones and tablets, they generate sound waves. Most contemporary handheld devices have multiple microphones that they use for voice calls, recording voice memos, and more.

The researchers used the devices' microphones to detect the soundwaves generated by passcode taps. By tracking which microphone heard the sound first — a difference that could be measured in fractions of a second — the software they created could make educated guesses about where on the screen the sound originated, allowing it to predict which key a user tapped. 

The system they created was able to correctly guess a four-digit passcode 73% of the time after 10 tries in one test. In another test, it was able to identify 30% of passwords ranging from seven to 13 characters in length after 20 tries.

In order for hackers to exploit the vulnerability researchers found, they'd have to get their targets to install malware on their phones first, and the potential victims would have to allow that software to have access to their microphones. That could make the technique difficult to use in the real world, security researchers told the Journal. Most modern operating systems bar applications from using a device's microphone unless users allow it.

Got a tip about a security vulnerability or another the tech issue? Contact this reporter via email at, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

SEE ALSO: An internet pioneer is doubtful Mark Zuckerberg can refocus Facebook on privacy. Here's why.

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